History of the American Flag

For more than two centuries, the American flag has been our nation’s symbol of freedom and independence. Since Betsy Ross sewed the first American flag in May 1777, it has represented these values in every town and city in America, in nations around the world and even in space. Here’s a look at the historical development of the American flag:

 

May 1777

The Continental Congress visited seamstress Betsy Ross’ store and asked her to sew the first American flag.

 

June 14, 1777

The Continental Congress passed the first Flag Act to establish an official flag for the new nation.

 

“Resolved, That the flag of the United States be made of thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation.”

 

July 4, 1777

The birth of a new nation was heralded as the Declaration of Independence was read aloud for the first time.

 

January 13, 1794

Congress passed an Act providing for 15 stripes and 15 stars to appear on the flag.

 

April 4, 1818

Congress passed an Act providing for the addition of one star for each state admitted to the Union; the flag was to be changed on the 4th of July following the admission.

 

June 24, 1912

President Taft signed an Executive Order providing that the stars be ordered in six horizontal rows with eight stars in each row; each star was to have a single point facing up.� The additional star reflected the admission of America’s 48th state, Arizona, into the Union.

 

January 3, 1959 

President Eisenhower signed an Executive Order providing that the stars be ordered in seven horizontal rows of seven stars each in order to reflect the admission of America’s 49th and 50th states, Alaska and Hawaii, into the Union.

 

August 21, 1959

President Eisenhower signed an Executive Order providing that the stars be ordered in nine staggered horizontal rows and eleven staggered vertical rows.



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